Bible Devotions

What would you do?


Let’s say you, your spouse and your toddler (under 4 years old) have an appointment with a tax preparation services.  You thought about how to keep your toddler busy while you’re working with the accountant and have brought some small toys for him to play with.  You spouse really don’t have a good feeling about the visit and is sure you are going to have to pay a lot of taxes this year.   Your appointment is at 6:30pm. You arrive on-time with junior in tow only to discover you have to wait.  They are not finished with the previous client yet. 


What would you do?

  1. Get angry about having to wait.
  2. Be resentful for not being seen right away
  3. Be anxious and worry about how much you have to pay
  4. Try controlling your toddler’s noise and activity level
  5. Wait patiently and play with your toddler’s toys to pass time


When we experience challenging situations, it is an opportunity to trust God and not to panic.  Learn to “go-with-the-flow” and enjoy a few moments with your family.  Here are a few suggestions to try whenever you’re in a similar situation:

·         Try getting down to your toddler’s level and see things from his/her perspective.  Play with their toys like they do, if only for a couple minutes.  The joy you bring to their little faces will be so worth it! 

·         Try talking with your spouse, while your toddler plays with his/her toys.

·         Talk to God in the quietness of your mind, thank Him for all He is doing and has done in your life.

·         Think about everything you have to be thankful for; an income supporting your family, a house to live in, a car to get your places, food in the pantry, and spare change in your pocket, etc.


Everything in life is used in God’s economy to bring about godly change in our life.  Each difficult moment is used to shape our responses into that which the Father in heaven can be proud of. 


Take time to think about your options in each encounter.  Don’t squander your time on worthless anger, frustration, selfish thoughts or worry.  Instead use you time to glory God by doing what He would do. 


Second Timothy 1:7 NKJV says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”


Lord Jesus thank you for dying in our place so we might live in you and do what is pleasing to the Father.  Thank for giving us the spirit of power, of love and a sound mind able to be make god-honoring decisions.  Enable us to live out our faith in all situations. In Jesus’ name Amen.


© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.


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Humble Heart


I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts. Isaiah 57:15 NLT


He refreshes and gives new courage to anyone humble enough to repent of their sins.

Do we truly understand we are sinners?  If so, we are less likely to be judging of others as we know how easy it is to fall. 


When we grasp how much we’ve been forgiven, we are less critical of others and that’s a sign of humility.  Humble folks don’t point their finger at someone else because when they do, they realize three fingers pointing back at them. 


How interesting God gives “new” courage.  Not the same kind of courage we used to muster on our own, but a new courage that comes directly from His spirit. 


God honors those with a repentant hearts.  Test yourself, examine your motives, and let nothing be done through selfish ambition.  God refreshes the humble.  Therefore, humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.  He provides the courage for you to stand amidst your circumstances.


Lord thank you for giving us the courage to humble our self before you.  Thank you for lifting us up when we are repentant.  Enable us to remain humble in all the seasons of our lives.  In Jesus’ name Amen.


© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.

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Better Thoughts


For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:9 NKJV


God’s ways and God’s thoughts are so much purer than ours.  We can’t even begin to comprehend how much more perfect His thoughts are compared to ours.  Think about how God is not mixed with past hurts to pepper His thinking.  Even though He has plenty of reason to be offended or wounded from His own creation, He never allows those wounds to change the way He thinks.  I don’t know about you, but this is definitely not how I think. 


His thoughts are higher than ours.  He is always thinking of what’s best for us.  His thoughts are pure, true, noble, right, just, full of mercy and grace, and loving – always. 

Imagine that! Can you say that about your thoughts? If we are honest, we’d say we can’t! 


His ways are even more impressive.  He only does the things that benefit others.  He never does anything out of selfish ambition.  He corrects / rebukes His children for greater character growth.  He allows all kinds of circumstances in our lives, so we can learn from them and grow to be more Christ like.  It’s hard to understand how letting something bad happen could possible turn out for the good, but God knows just how to do it. 


What an amazing God we have!  Remember His ways are higher than ours. 


Lord, thank you for working everything for good to those who love you and are called according to your purposes.  Help us think and act like you.  In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.


© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.

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Press On


Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond to us as surely as the

arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring. Hosea 6:3 NLT


Now, I can attest that this verse is true.  When I first became a believer (in 2000), the more effort I put into pursuing God, the faster my prayers seemed to be answered.  My small group at the time was always amazed how quickly God seemed to come to my aid.  I have several notebook journals filed with answered prayers. 


It’s it a wonderful blessing to look back at how God was moving at that time in my life.  Of course, I don’t stay there in the past, though.  God is working still in my life every day, even on days when I don’t recognize it. 


We can always trust in God’s action in our life as surely as the rising sun every morning! 


The other thing about this verse that needs to be mentioned is the fact that it requires effort on our part.  I’m not saying we do things, so God will do His thing.  Rather, I’m saying God’s truth is like gold we mine for.  It takes effort to spend time in His Word uncovering these nuggets of truth.  It takes effort to apply these truths in our lives. 


We must be willing to “press on to know him”.  As a result, we become so aware of Him in our life we rely on Him completely – just like we rely on the sun to shine each day!


What can we do today to draw closer to God?


Lord God above, thank you for giving us a desire to know you.  Thank you for blessing us as we seek you first in all we do.  Enable us to press on to know you.  In Jesus’ name Amen.


© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.

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Lord You Are

885108_belle_de_nuit.jpgI will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as LORD.  Hosea 2:20 NLT


This is truly how the Lord made Himself LORD in my life.  Little by little, He showed Himself faithful to me.  An answered prayer, help with a difficult situation, transforming the way I think, replacing my heart of stone with a tender heart of love are just a few ways that He shows His faithfulness.  Each time He acts in my life, I know Him more as my Lord.  The trick is training your eye to look for His works in your life. 


Pastor Rick Warren said, “You’re only as close to God, as you choose to be”. 


Scripture says “Draw close to Him, and He’ll draw close to you.” 


Everything good takes effort.  Are you willing to put in the effort to know your Lord and Savior? 


Lord Jesus, thank you for making yourself real to us.  Help us train our eyes to look for you in life’s situations.  Give us a desire to draw close to you.  In your name we pray Amen.


© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.

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I was blind, now I see


He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25 NKJV


Jesus had healed a man who was born blind in a particularly strange way.  He spat on the ground, made clay with His salvia and annointed this man’s eyes.  He then instructed the man to go and wash.  When he did as he was told, he came back seeing!


The Pharisees were angry, of course, because Jesus did this on a Sabbath.  They were so caught up in trying to trap Jesus they were oblivious to the miracles He performed.   News of this man’s healing must have spread quickly.  No one who was born blind was ever healed before.  The man is brought before the Pharisees and asked “How were your eyes opened?” The man told his story and the Pharisees just didn’t believe it. 


The Pharisees brought in the man’s parents to cross examine them to see if the man really was born blind.  When they answered yes they said the man was old enough to speak for himself.  So the Pharisees found the man and questioned him again.


John 9:30-33 NKJV “The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”


The man’s response is a great example for us in sharing our faith with others.  Let’s look at the progression:


Verse 30 – A miracle happened.  There was no denying a miracle took place.

Verse 31 – Confirmation of God’s Truth was spoken.  God doesn’t hear sinners, but worshipers who do the will of God, He hears.

Verse 32 – Followed by fact.  No one born blind was ever healed before!

Verse 33 – Personal conviction.  “If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”


This same progression was found in my own life. 

A miracle happened — My hardened heart full of bitterness, resentment and anger was replaced with a tender heart of love.

Confirmation of God’s Truth was spoken — All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Jesus Christ died to pay for my sins.

Follow by fact — My marriage was restored.

Personal conviction – Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.


How about you?  Do you find a similar progression in your own story of faith?


Lord, thank you for saving us from our sins and healing us.  May we be like the blind man, grateful for all you have done for us.  May our confidence come from you.  In Jesus’ name Amen.


© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.

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In or Out of God’s Family

“He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” John 8:47 NKJV


Do you desire God’s Word?


If you answered yes, changes are you are part of God’s family. If you answered no, you can be sure you are not part of God’s family.


Let’s look at some consequences of being or not being in God’s family.


In God’s Family

Out of God’s Family

Recognize the truth (John 8:31)

Deceived, believe lies instead of truth (Proverbs 19:9, Proverbs 17:20)

Set free by truth (John 8:32, Romans 10:9)                                     

See evil as good, good as evil (Isaiah 5:20)

Holy Spirit given as guarantee (2 Corinthians 1:22)

Self powered – only will power. (Job 20:22)

Power from above (Acts 1:8)

Try but fail, try again but fail, repeatedly.  No sustained change. (Romans 7:19)

Home in Heaven (Matthew 5)

Home in Hell, separated from God forever in darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth (Isaiah 59:2, Matthew 8:12)

New life now (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; (Romans 1:28-32)

New thoughts, desires (Romans 12:1-2)

No hope, instead self-centered, prideful thoughts and desires (Proverbs 14:16, Matthew 23:25, Romans 2:5-10)

Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)

Impure motives (Proverbs 12:2)


Jesus tells us when we are not willing to hear God’s Word it is a sign we are not part of His family.  If we were part of His family, we would gladly welcome and listen to His words.


But it is more than just listening He speaks of.  It is believing, trusting and a staking-our-life-on-it kind of listening.   John 8:31 NKJV “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.””


See it’s more than hearing, it is about responding to what we hear.  When we accept His word as truth, order our lives around it, we are applying God’s word and therefore abiding in it. 


The result is found in John 8:32 NKJV “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”


Do you believe? 


Lord God above, thank you for your word.  Help us to believe your truth so we may be set free and a part of your family forever.  Thank you, Jesus, for dying in our place and making it possible for us to have a relationship with God in the first place.  Please come into our lives and save us.  In Jesus’ name Amen.


© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.

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Humble as a Child

humble-child.jpgTherefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4 NKJV


What does it mean to be humble like a child? 


Merriam-Webster’s definition of humble is:

  1. not proud or haughty: not arrogant or assertive
  2. reflecting, expressing, or offered in spirit of deference or submission; a humble apology.
  3. A: ranking low in a hierarchy or scale: insignificant, unpretentious B: not costly or luxurious: a humble contraption.


A small or little child is not proud, haughty, arrogant or assertive for the world has yet to corrupt him.  We are called to be as the child, unpolluted by the world’s corruption (James 1:27).


A child has no problem expressing himself, saying what he wants or needs.  As we age, we are hurt by our own mistakes, taken advantage of by others, persecuted for our beliefs and made to feel used and abused.  As a result, we turn inward and cower from expressing our selves completely or truly.  We are cautious not to get hurt again.


There is no unpretentious in a child, no plotting or scheming or manipulating to get what he wants. As we said above, we are hurt by the world so our natural tendency is to scheme, plot or manipulate to get our way in most situations.  A lot of times we don’t even recognize we’re doing this.  The Bible exalts us to have pure motives, to seek the best interest of others rather focusing on what’s best for us (Philippians 2:4). 


A child can ask for forgiveness and even forgive so easily.  We are called to forgive frequently.  Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV “Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”


Think about the position of a child in the family.  They are low on the hierarchy because they are new to this world.  They don’t know how the world operates yet.  Children know they have parents who care, protect, love and cherish them.  Guess what?  God cares for us.  He protects us.  He loves us. He cherishes us. 


How about you?  Are you humble as a child? Are you proud or arrogant?  Are you able to expressing yourself? Are you unpretentious without evil motives?  Are you able to ask for and extend forgiveness?  Do you realize God loves you?


Lord God Almighty, thank you for your clear word to us this day.  Thank you for helping us come to know all we have in you.  Enable us to be humble as a child.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.

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Opposite of Humility

718085_heart.jpgAs you might have guessed the opposite of humility is pride.  The Bible has a lot to say about pride and not one thing is positive.  A quick word search on pride using Bible Gateway reveals 51 hits.  A search on the word proud had 56 hits and haughty had 18 hits.   That’s 127 places the Bible teaches about pride.  Any time God’s Word repeats something you know He wants us to understand it.  You can rest assured the topic is very important.


Let’s look at a few in this devotion, so we’ll know more as to why we should avoid pride.


Pride does evil towards others

  • Psalm 10:2 NKJV “The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.”
  • Psalm 59:12 NKJV “For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, let them even be taken in their pride, and for the cursing and lying which they speak.”
  • Psalm 73:6 NKJV “Therefore pride serves as their necklace; violence covers them like a garment.”
  • James 4:1 NKJV “[Pride Promotes Strife] Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”


Pride brings trouble

  • Proverbs 11:2 NKJV “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.”
  • Proverbs 13:10 NKJV “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.”
  • Proverbs 16:18 NKJV “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
  • Proverbs 21:24 NKJV “A proud and haughty man—“Scoffer” is his name; He acts with arrogant pride.”
  • Proverbs 16:5 NKJV “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”


Pride causes rebellion against God

  • Jeremiah 13:15 NKJV “[Pride Precedes Captivity] Hear and give ear: Do not be proud, For the LORD has spoken.”
  • Jeremiah 13:17 NKJV “But if you will not hear it, My soul will weep in secret for your pride; My eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the LORD’s flock has been taken captive.”
  • Hosea 7:10 NKJV “And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, but they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek Him for all this.”
  • Amos 8:7 NKJV “The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their works.”
  • Zephaniah 2:10 NKJV “This they shall have for their pride, because they have reproached and made arrogant threats against the people of the LORD of hosts.”
  • Psalm 10:4 NKJV “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”
  • Habakkuk 2:4 NKJV “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.”



Reasons for removing Pride

  • Isaiah 13:11 NKJV “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.”
  • Proverbs 8:13 NKJV “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.”
  • Proverbs 29:23 NKJV “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
  • Isaiah 23:9 NKJV “The LORD of hosts has purposed it, to bring to dishonor the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.”
  • Daniel 4:37 NKJV “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”
  • Proverbs 16:19 NKJV “Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
  • Malachi 4:1 NKJV “[The Great Day of God] “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. and the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the LORD of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch.”
  • James 4:6 NKJV “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”


Pride comes in many forms.  It is my sincerest desire you are able to recognize pride in your own life and confess it to God and seeks His forgiveness before it’s too late.  We as children of God should nothing to do with pride.  It’s evil.  God hates it.  It does nothing to build others up.  Nor does it help point others to God.  


Lord Jesus, thank you for coming into our lives and giving us the power to put down pride.  Enable us to see the pride that so easily blinds us to your truth.  By your spirit and your might teach us your ways that we may walk in them.  In your name we pray. Amen.


© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.


In Search of the Great Thing

Read 2 Kings 5:1-19.


Naaman was the commander of the army of the king of Syria.  He was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master.  He was a mighty man of valor.  When we read these noble descriptions how do you envision the man they describe?  Maybe you see a tall, commanding presence of a man with great confidence. Well, there’s one more thing about Naaman you should know.  He was also a leper. 


In that day, it was terrible being a leper.  You would be shunned from society, family and friends.  You will be sent away to live in a leper colony.  No one would ever touch you again.  You will live in complete isolation from those you loved.  It was a dramatically sad, discouraging and hopeless existence living with leprosy for there was no cure. 


But not for Naaman, this man had connections with the king of Syria. He had power, position and prestige despite having leprosy. Somehow the rules didn’t apply to him.


One day, his servant tells him of a prophet in Israel who could heal him.  So he goes to his master asking permission to visit the land of Israel in search of this prophet.  Getting ready for the trip, Naaman packs ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothing.  Naaman was loaded!  Look how much money he brought.  Look at how much clothing he had.  In those days, people were lucky to have two changes of clothes and Naaman was packing ten!


Naaman, with all his pomp and entourage, stood at the door of Elisha’s house.  Naaman was probably expecting a royal welcome seeing how he was such a great, honorable and mighty man of valor. But Elisha sent out a messenger instead of speaking face-to-face with Naaman.  Instead a mere messenger to spoke the word of the prophet to Naaman saying “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”


Look at Naaman’s response in verses 11-12: “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.”



We are told in verse 11 Naaman became furious.  It appears he was furious for two reasons.  One reason was the prophet would not come out to see him personally.  The second reason was the ridiculous instructions he was given.  For you see the Jordan River was not the cleanest river around.  In fact, it was filthy.  This prophet expected Naaman to dip in the dirtiest water around.  


How interesting he has a chance to be cured from leprosy but he doesn’t like the method he’s told to use.  He wanted a big show.  He wanted something miraculous.  He wanted something worthy of his position, his prestige and his power.  He was told to dip seven times in the Jordan.  How unappealing, low, and boring this was not how he wanted to be healed. 


Using a humble servant, the Lord gets Naaman’s attention.  The servant says: “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”  The servant is trying to get Naaman to see he was willing to go to great lengths to be healed but unwilling to do something as simple as wash himself in the Jordan. 


Apparently it worked for he went to the Jordan and dipped seven times, just like the man of God said.  His flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.  Naaman came back to Elisha’s house saying: “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.” But the man of God would receive nothing for this miracle.  Naaman urged him to take it, but he refused. 


Then Naaman asked for two mule-loads of earth to take with him so he could worship the God of Israel in his own land.  The man of God said “Go in peace.” Naaman departed.


What we learned from this story:

  1. Pride makes us think we’re above the law.  Naaman had connections and as a result he wasn’t sent away to a leper colony. When we have connections with people of power, we might think the rules don’t apply to us.
  2. Eagerness is not the same as obedience.  Naaman was eager to go see the prophet, but when he got there he refused the advice. Did you notice how he wanted to substitute his own way to get clean? How often are we eager to hear God’s way, but we choose our own way instead?
  3. Pride thinks more of self than is true.  Expecting the royal treatment, Naaman is disappointed when he receives the “healing message” second hand.  Did you notice the pride in Naaman’s internal dialogue?  Seeing how great I am, “He will surely come out to me” he thought.   When our focus on “me”, then I know I’m being prideful.
  4. Pride leads to disobedience. Naaman received simple instructions, but didn’t want to follow the advice because it didn’t match his idea of how this healing should take place. He wanted something extravagant, extraordinary, and special.  When our expectations are “grandeur” rather simple, we might be thinking too highly of our self.


It’s your turn.  What about this story resonated with you?  Did you see yourself in this story?  Have you noticed pride in your life?  If so, talk to God about it and being willing to do whatever He leads to do about it. 


Lord God Almighty, they don’t call you Almighty for nothing.  You alone have all power and might.  There is no one greater than you.  Help us identify pride in our life so we may confess it and be forgiven.  Thank you for cleansing us from all unrighteousness when we seek you.  In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.


© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.

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